I have been told I look fabulous. This phenomenon started about nine months after Peter died. Everywhere I went people would tell me I look amazing and truly mean the compliment. When it first started happening I was so grief stricken that I just responded with a mumbled growl, similar to the way Vin Diesel recites his lines in every movie. Then I noticed that the friends I hadn’t seen in a while were telling me the same thing.
I find this one of the funnier aspects of dealing with the death of my husband. I look in the mirror and I see a myriad of things and none of them fabulous. Don’t get it twisted. I know that I am fabulous. Most days, I just don’t look it. When I look at my reflection I see a women that has aged about twenty years. My image is no longer of a relatively carefree women. It is now an image of something more complex. First there is the hair loss. I have a bald spot that is surrounded by massive amounts of gray hair. So now I have thin, gray hair as opposed to the thick black locks of my youth. Then there are the black circles under my eyes that seem to be a permanent side effect of crying. My eyes are also swollen shut most of the day negating the eye lift I had a few years back. Another side effect of bawling morning, noon and night for eighteen months.
Fabulous huh? Then of course the loss of appetite which I also give a big thank you to the grief. THE grief, it has become an entity of it’s own. I lost forty pounds the first year into my widowhood, I have yet to gain any of it back, which I am convinced is the reason people tell me I look fabulous. I am not saying that the weight loss is a bad side effect but it is a side effect, nonetheless. My nails constantly split and my skin is dry, despite the copious amounts of oil/lotion I slather on those spots. If food is fuel then I have an empty tank and nothing tastes good enough to fill it.
Family members and friends tell me that I need to eat, I don’t really care to listen, try as I might. After all I look fabulous, right? In an effort to prove to my well-wishers that I am fine, I go to the doctor. My doctor takes one look at me and my fabulous physical appearance and declares that I am malnourished. Genuinely shocked by her declaration, I ask “What? Why?” My second thought is “Don’t homemade rice crispy treats have ANY nutritional value?” Because I have been eating them faithfully for breakfast every morning and maybe lunch some days, but again I am now believing the hype of my gorgeous appearance.
Shamed and educated about something called vege-tab-les, I decided I need to take better care of myself. Ugh, but how? Are vegetables what Peter used to make me and our kids eat? How did Peter cook these things or did we eat them raw? Yes, to all of the above, and he even grew these things, my kids inform me. WOW! I really have some gaps in my memory. O.K. eating has become a priority. Well eating healthy has become a priority. I will now use my five to ten minutes of daily energy to eat a vegetable or even better drink a vegetable, as my mother has provided the household with a plethora of gross, I mean, nutritious veggie fruit combo juices. I am steady in my resolve and maybe these foreign objects called vegetables will make my skin look better and help my hair return to its glory days. Oh, and maybe at some point I really will look fabulous. Now if only I could stop crying.